(Particularly European colonial countries)

My understanding of colonialism is that it provided significant wealth/resources in the early industrialization of colonial countries. Does that generally stay true until the end of colonialism, or is the end of colonialism coincide with dropping profit generation of colonies? And post-colonialism, how much of that profiting was moved to neo-imperialism? Or did lost colonies cause significant resource/profit loss?

  • Dude, most of the countries which had had colonies earlier, could not have sustained neo colonialism because they weren't powerful enough. And anyway, neo colonialism has conspiracy theory sounds you know. It can't really be documented. – Rohit Apr 30 '15 at 11:39
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    -1 because the structure of this post is so messy I'm not really sure what you are trying to ask. Yes, I might successfully decode it if I try, but honestly the burden should be on the writer, not on the readers (for several obvious or less obvious reasons). – o0'. Apr 30 '15 at 13:28
  • @Rohit, neoimperialism is neither a conspiracy theory, nor not well documented. One example: Arab countries gained independence post WWI, but British state oil companies, among others continued resource extraction. – maged Apr 30 '15 at 17:52
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    Is it imperialism when BP pays Abu Dhabi for mineral rights (for example)? Explain what you mean by neoimperalism and this might be a stronger question. – Joe May 1 '15 at 1:00

I found a paper(.doc) from the University of Liepzig that studied colonial revenues in the British Empire in some detail.

Looking over their data, it seems that nearly all parts of the empire were experiencing increasing revenues clear to the end (well..at least until WWII). However, what you do see at the end is that the revenue per capita actually started to decline.

For example, here are their overall gross revenue numbers (in millions of pounds) and per capita (in pounds):

  • 1870-71 - 73, 3.21
  • 1910-11 - 185, 4.40
  • 1925-26 - 812, 18.01
  • 1937-38 - 848, 17.95

When you consider that some of this revenue has to go to actually maintaining the empire itself, and many of the costs of that are per-capita as well, one interpretation of this might be that the amount that was straight profit had at least quit increasing at its former rate.

Or to put it more simply, keeping the Empire up had started to become a bit of a chore.

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    Skimming through the paper, it looks like it uses taxation as revenue. Wouldn't resource extraction be more significant? – maged Apr 30 '15 at 2:31
  • @maged - Perhaps, but that would generally go to private parties, not to the government (and likely would continue mostly unaffected after any but the most violent transitions out of the imperial system). Still it would be interesting to see numbers on that. – T.E.D. Apr 30 '15 at 3:11
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    Resources going to private parties would still benefit the colonizer. Resources lead to building industry, and more goods for consumption for the general population. – maged Apr 30 '15 at 3:28
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    ...and more taxes levied from the general population, and less social spending feeding the unemployed. +1 because it is valid approximation to the answer, but I think maged's observations are valid, too. – SJuan76 Apr 30 '15 at 7:20
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    Resource extraction, loots in war, monopolised trade, all these, though not adding up to the state exchequer itself, greatly enrich the mother country, and provide better living standards to the residents of the mother country. I believe, that is what the OP means by profit. Government revenues are only a small part of that. – Rohit Apr 30 '15 at 11:35

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